See, the writers of Rome learned the show had been canceled somewhat unexpectedly while halfway through season two. As a result, well, the last few episodes do seem a bit rushed.
But this one takes place some unknown number of years in the future.
Time has passed. Vorenus is in Egypt, dreaming of Niobe. Pullo is in Rome, sleeping with Gaia. He doesn’t know Gaia killed his wife. That scuzzball Memmio may be missing a tongue after Pullo did some creative tongue extraction last episode, but he isn’t dead. Pullo has him locked inside a small cage. Octavia has a young daughter. Marc Antony never sent for Atia since he set up shop with Cleopatra and even had a few kids by her. Most of the Romans in Egypt have gone native (Vorenus is an exception). Octavian is more or less in power in Rome, but there’s a famine and he needs Marc Antony to sell some grain to Rome.
And…Marc Antony’s price includes Spain. It seems Antony and Octavian are basically plotting against each other to see who can get the other to go to war. Octavian may have hungry citizens, but he’s also about as loved as polio. Marc Antony is still adored. He has personality. Personality goes a long way.
But Octavian has something Antony lacks, and that’s Antony’s wife. Oh, and Antony’s pre-Cleo girlfriend. He can convince his mother and sister to go to Egypt and request the grain, right?
Well, that would be a win-win for Octavian. If he gets the grain, the people don’t starve. If Antony turns away Octavia, he has an excuse to go to war with the public’s blessing.
What happens? Well, Antony and Cleopatra get in an argument over whether or not Atia should be embarrassed at dinner. He says no; she says yes. They fight. It turns physical. Then it turns really physical, and the bottom line is Atia and Octavia never catch so much as a glimpse of Antony. They’re told to go back to Rome. Vorenus won’t leave because that’s who he is, but he’ll send a message to Pullo to kiss his children (they still hate their father). Caesar’s old slave Posca will sneak away with a copy of Antony’s will. That will rile up the people even if the grain and wife refusal doesn’t. Antony sounds nuts in it.
So, back in Rome, Octavian gets the will, the news, and a good slap from his mother. He has his war. He sends for Pullo to try to reason with Vorenus and mentions that Caesarion, Cleopatra’s son by Caesar (maybe) will have to die, but Pullo thinks the kid is really his, so…
Oh, Vorenus has been telling Caesarion about the boy’s father, but Vorenus is describing Pullo. That’s kinda sweet.
But on the night before he’s set to depart, Memmio breaks out and knocks Pullo the freak out. Gaia and Memmio struggle for a bit. Memmio is killed outright, but not before giving Gaia a fatal wound. And then on her own deathbed, she tells the grieving Pullo what really happened to Eirene.
Pullo responds by choking her to death before she can bleed out and then tossing her body in a muddy river.
These Romans are such happy, even-tempered people.
OK, next week is the write-up for the last episode, along with an announcement for what will follow Rome Mondays at this time.